FYI: This blog is being taken care of by Sister Martin's mom Sharon Martin - She is posting emails and pictures that I am sending to her each week.

Monday, 24 June 2013

As Winnie the Pooh would say, everyday here is a "blustery" day!

Ok! I decided to email 1st and read emails later this time, so I don't run out of time to bore you with the details of my mission ;)

Wow! I've almost been here a month! Unbelievable!!! After a month here is my description of England:
- As Winnie the Pooh would say, everyday here is a "blustery" day! You pretty much experience almost all 4 seasons every hour here. Rain-wind-rain-sun-wind-wind-lots of wind and rain- sun- freezing cold- so hot you almost die- wind-wind- rain. It keeps you on your toes!

- The people here definitely are tough when it comes to religion. I kept being told that this would be a difficult mission, and those people were right. BUT, fortunately for these people, I am stubborn, and like to talk, so THEY WILL LOVE ME!! Haha

-They have the best yogurt ever (there's this yogurt called corner yogurt. It's seriously the bomb!! I'm never going back!) and the best chocolate ever!

- I LOVE IT! I love England. I love the ward members here sooooo much! I love the accents (note the plural; there is no such thing as an "English Accent". There about 2 billion English Accents). I love the people. They are polite, and kind, and caring, and I LOVE their sense of humour! When I think of England, I just think of the word LOVE!

It has been a very difficult week. My patience has been tried so much! I don't know if I mentioned it, but we are white-washing this area (meaning that there haven't been missionaries here for a longgg time- 5 yrs in our case!). We arrived to an empty area book, and have been literally building from the ground up. Every second of our day is filled with either appointments with members or finding on the streets and at homes. BUT I have been so happy it almost hurts! I can't explain how fulfilling it is to work until you have nothing left, and then having to rely 100% on the Lord to get through the day. Your faith grows so much, and you just that everything you are doing is so important. It is truly such a blessing to be here and to be doing this work!

What a week! So last p-day, the funniest, strangest thing happened. Sis. Shchur and I were sitting in our flat at 5pm, eating fish and chips to finish off p-day, when suddenly we got a text from the sister we taught last week (the real housewives of Orange County sister). She texted saying that her boxing club was having a medal ceremony for some of their high level athletes who won some major competitions over the weekend. The former professional boxer/well respected coach who was supposed to present the medals was stuck in London (delayed flight) and couldn't make it, so they invited Sis. S to present the medals. Let me tell you, that was the funniest call I think anyone's ever had to make to President Preston. He and I were laughing our heads off, while poor Sister Shchur was just embarassed out of her mind. The President loved it and told us to go and have fun! So off we went. Sis. Shchur got interviewed by the newspaper and got her picture in the paper with it. She was treated like a celebrity there. One coach even asked for her autograph! They gave us some doughnuts to thank us for coming (CHA CHING! Free food for a missionary is like the biggest blessing ever!!!). Fun fact though: being a sister missionary in a gym full of shirtless, sweaty, teenage/young adult males is AWKWARD! I was very happy to leave at the end, because while my companion was away from me for the ceremony I kept having random guys try to talk to me.

The Car! So we finally got the car back (we drove a courtesy car to our area my first day, which they took back the next day. Our actual car- the one the elders crashed- was in the shop FOREVER). The lame part: we only had the car for 5 days! President told us that a senior couple would eventually need the car, so we were not to get too comfortable having one. He originally thought that wouldn't be for another month and half, but plans changed. So we had 5 glorious days with Hermana (figured it was a good, exotic name for a sister missionary car). I am good at driving here now thank goodness. After about a day and a half of driving, and driving tips from the members here, I now can drive comfortably on English roads. I must admit though, I still hate how narrow the roads are here! I nearly wet myself every time I have to pass a car!

We met with Sister “C” on Tuesday. She has been having a really tough time and hasn't been to church in ages. She opened right up to us, and pretty much told us her entire life story (all her issues, her conversion story) without even being asked to. She's struggled with self-esteem issues really badly (I would almost call it self-hate) and has gone in and out of activity due to being offended by people at various times. Just like our meeting last week, I don't know where my words came from. I was able to share some scriptures with her about enduring to the end. More importantly, I was able to share a testimony of the importance of the atonement. That because of it our weaknesses can become strong. That we are hurting ourselves by not going to church. And a whole bunch of other things that no email could ever describe properly. We were all in tears. She tearfully acknowledged that it was time for her to come back to church. And she did! It was such an incredibly sacred experience. I love how the Lord spirit works! It's absolutely mind-blowing!!

I was able to give another BOM (Book of Mormon) away this last week. I know 2 BOM's in a week doesn't sound like a whole lot, but in this area- trust me- it is! Slowly making progress.


Since we've been whitewashing, we've had no one to teach. We desperately search every day, but have had no luck yet. Last Sunday, the bishopric gave us a list of names of members who had moved into the ward, but had never been seen or heard from. It was our job to find them and work with them to eventually get them to church. After tracting for 5 hours straight (with no luck), we decided to check on one address before we had to go home (we had already gone there 3 times). A man answered the door, but it was not the member (we don't know what happened to him). This man's name was Kalid. We started talking to him, and he was so prepared for the gospel it wasn't even funny! He has studied so many different religions. He has a strong belief in Jesus Christ. He prays every day and tries to repent daily as well. He used to be into alcohol and drugs, and used Jesus Christ's atonement to free himself from that life. He loved everything we were sharing and booked a return appointment that night. Last night (Sunday) we had our first discussion with him. It went well. He has already been reading the BOM we gave him and really enjoyed it. The idea of having the proper priesthood made sense to him, and the concept of the apostasy and the restoration also made sense. We started talking about baptism for him. He has barely started reading the BOM so he wants to learn more from us and from studying the BOM, but he understood that he needs to be baptized down the road once he has a testimony from reading of the BOM. He kept saying that before he met us that he was trying to change his life and didn't know how. We came at exactly the right time in his life and he recognized that HF had sent us to help him make that change. We meet with him again on Wednesday. I hope that it will go well and I pray that his testimony will begin to grow. What a blessing Kalid was to me! It gave me the motivation to keep on working hard. You never know when you'll run into those who are ready for the gospel.

We just found out this morning that we will be covering two areas now. The other ward (Wrekin ward) does not have sisters and they really badly need to us work with them, because they have a large number of single sisters. So we will be even more busy now! I'm excited! I will be exhausted BUT this will mean 2x the referrals, 2x the opportunities to bless the members, 2x the blessings, and 2x the amount of personal learning/growth I will experience!

We got to be in the annual Wellington village parade on Saturday! It all happened within the course of a few mins. We (the Telford elders and ourselves) were originally supposed to just come to the Wellington carnival and run a table for the church (where people could learn more, talk to us, get BOM's, pamphlets etc.). They needed people to help in the parade last minute, so we tossed on some helping hands shirts, and got to be in the parade. So fun! Unfortunately I have no pictures though, because we thought we were just coming to run a booth. The carnival was fun. It was pouring rain and windy (of course). What a fun day!

A highlight/lowlight (all at once) of the week was our trip to Bolten. Sis. Shchur had a family she taught getting baptized out there Saturday night. Bolten is just over a 2 hr drive from us and out of our area, so I really got to test my driving skills out!! The baptism was beautiful! 6 people got baptized. They were all Iranian, so the entire service was in Farsi. The sacrifices these people made to be baptized is phenomenal! If anyone these people knew back in Iran found out about their baptisms, them or their family in Iran would be killed, imprisoned, or seriously injured. We couldn't take any pictures, because of this! Despite this, they all wanted to still be baptized! Their faith is so inspiring. There were so many missionaries at the baptism, and it was so nice to see the result of those Elders and Sisters' labours! This baptism inspired me to work harder. To have more faith! The drive to Bolten was fine, but the drive back was a different story. 1st off, we almost got killed by a lorry (semi-truck) joke. Like almost died.... I was driving in the left lane on a motorway (in England, the left lane is the slow lane on the highway), going the speed limit, minding my own business. Suddenly a massive lorry starts changing lanes...into us! I almost swerved off the road. The crazy part. He starts honking his horns, tailgating me, and flickering his high beams at ME! He almost hit us, and killed us, and he was road-raging at us! It was terrifying! Then on the way home, the major motorway that we needed to get back to Telford was closed. So we had to take a detour that added an extra 1h20mins to our trip. So we didn't get home until super late! It was so frustrating and scary, as the detour took us through the back country roads. It was super rainy,super dark, and the roads were extremely narrow and windy; I was very uncomfortable driving them. The fun part though. We got special permission to sleep in until 8:30am because we got in so late. Sleeping in on the mission is unheard of! It was heaven sleeping in!! :)

A very english dish that I tried and actually was shocked that I liked. Mushy peas with chips (french fries). We had fish and chips at a family's home, and they gave me peas to have with my chips. I was so weirded out by this, but I smiled and took a bite. Never thought that combo would work. So there's your fun fact of the day!

A strange tender mercy I received this week. I was having a tough afternoon, and we were out finding in town center as usual. Suddenly an old man called out to us and asked if we could take a minute and sit with him; he said he gets lonely and no one talks to him. His name was Steven. He's 74 yrs old and lives in a home, but gets to spend the day out it town 2x a week. He said he has no family. There's no way to put it but he is crazy. Something isn't quite right with him (I think he may have some kind of mental disorder, or maybe just old age). He babbled on for 25 mins about how he went to a Catholic boarding school and the nuns were mean and used to rap his knuckles with bamboo rods. He sang an old Catholic hymn for us. He asked about our missionary work (he kept thinking we were nuns....he didn't like nuns because of his boarding school days haha). He did this all in a super loud (almost yelling) voice, including the singing. It was so awkward. So why is this a tender mercy. It just warmed my heart. Steven was so thrilled that someone would talk with him. He asked if we would see him again (we're going to try!). He was happy that someone cared about him. I got a little taste of what Heavenly Father must feel for all of his children. It brought me joy to make Steven's day a bit better.

I'm super nervous today. We met a polish man named Remek, and my companion volunteered me on the spot to teach him English. I have no clue how to teach English. I'm kind of freaking out. I may have to do this more, because we often meet  Polish people (there are a lot of them here in England) who don't know much English. Pray for me! I'll need it!

Love you!!!!!!!


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